Older Adults’ Needs and Preferences for Open Space and Physical Activity in and Near Parks: A Systematic Review

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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Major gaps exist in the literature regarding the link between open space and physical activity promotion for older adults. This study conducted a systematic review on older adults, open space, and physical activity to identify their needs and preferences in and near parks. We identified 48 peer-reviewed journal articles. All articles focused on older adults but not necessarily exclusively. Most studies were descriptive and correlational. Findings suggest that older adults have specific open space and physical activity needs in and near parks that partly overlap with younger people. Framed by the biopsychosocial framework, open space and physical activity in and near parks can benefit older adults’ physical health and psychologically well-being to stay socially engaged. Framed within the person–environment and life span perspectives, open space and physical activity in and near parks can facilitate an optimum fit between older adults and their environment as they continue to develop over time.

Levy-Storms is with the Dept. of Social Welfare, Luskin School of Public Affairs, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA; and the Division of Geriatrics, Dept. of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, CA. Chen is with the Dept. of Social Work, Fudan University, Shanghai, China. Loukaitou-Sideris is with the Dept. of Urban Planning, Luskin School of Public Affairs, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA.

Address author correspondence to Lin Chen at linc@fudan.edu.cn.
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